Travel Weekly's Caribbean E-letter: Sept. 25, 2007

A PROPOSED RESTRUCTURING of the Caribbean Tourism Organization is in the works, according to Allen Chastanet, chairman of the CTO and minister of tourism and civil aviation for St. Lucia. The restructuring calls for the formation of a Council of Ministers of Tourism, which would be separate from the CTO's board of directors, currently composed of the tourism ministers from the CTO's 33 member countries. Chastanet said that the directors of tourism for each member country would comprise the CTO's board of directors, along with selected private-sector business professionals. Chastanet also proposed a tourism summit in 2008 with heads of government and Caricom (Caribbean Community) officials "to discuss funding, infrastructure, and direction," he said. In addition, Chastanet said he plans a restructuring of the St. Lucia Tourist Board with a focus on bringing key policy makers into the mix and making the board a more "business-like" entity.

LODGEPODGE

" The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co. will make its debut in the Dominican Republic when the company's resort and residential venture opens at Cap Cana, a 30,000-acre luxury tourism destination under development on the eastern trip of the Dominican Republic near Punta Cana. The 220-room Ritz-Carlton, Cap Cana and the 194-unit Residences at the Ritz-Carlton, Cap Cana are scheduled to open in early 2010 on a two-mile stretch of Juanillo beach. Cap Cana's master development plan spans 12 to 15 years and, when completed, will offer more than 5,000 residential units, four luxury hotels, six golf courses and a marina with more than 1,000 slips for mega yachts up to 200 feet long. The first phase of the marina opened in April.

" Also planned for the Dominican Republic is the $120 million, 200-room Four Seasons de Casa de Campo Resort on 67 acres near Romana. The property will feature what it calls "super suites" priced at $10,200 per night, each with five bedrooms, a private pool, gym, offices and other luxury amenities. The resort is scheduled to open in the 2009 winter season and will be one of Four Seasons' 74 hotels in 31 countries.

TAKEOFFS

" Delta Airlines will launch two new nonstop Saturday-only routes from Atlanta this winter. On Feb. 9, the carrier will launch its service to Bonaire, departing Atlanta at 10 a.m., arriving in Bonaire at 3:10 p.m. The return flight will leave Bonaire at 4:15 p.m., arriving in Atlanta at 7:55 p.m. A week later, Delta will start service to St. Kitts with an 11:15 a.m. Atlanta departure, arriving in St. Kitts at 4:05 p.m. The return flight will leave at 4:55 p.m., arriving back in Atlanta at 8:05 p.m.

" Air Jamaica launched a new function on its Web site [www.airjamaica.com], which offers online passenger check-in four to 18 hours before scheduled departures from Kingston and Montego Bay, Jamaica; Miami; and Fort Lauderdale. The Web Check-In (WCI) allows passengers with electronic tickets to check in for their flight, select a seat and print a confirmation. At the airport, passengers can proceed to a special WCI counter to pick up their boarding passes. Travelers with baggage to be checked can arrive 90 minutes before their schedule departure; international passengers with no checked bags can arrive 60 minutes prior to departure; and passengers traveling within Jamaica with no checked bags can arrive 45 minutes before departure. The electronic check-in feature will be offered at additional gateways in the coming months, according to Paul Pennicook, Air Jamaica's senior vice president, sales and marketing.

AGENTS AND GENERAL DELEGATES who plan to attend the 30th annual Caribbean Tourism Conference, being held Oct. 19 to 24 in San Juan, must register by Sept. 29 to avoid late registration fees, according to the Caribbean Tourism Organization. After Sept. 29, travel agents will pay an additional $50 to register while general delegates will pay $100 more. Registration forms are available at www.onecaribbean.org. This year's conference, "The Next Generation: Learning from the Past, Preparing for the Future," features a strong mix of information sessions, networking opportunities and marks the return of the trade show, which made its debut at last year's event.

Caribbean Editor: Gay Nagle Myers

Phone: (201) 902-1924

[email protected]

For promotional opportunities in the E-letters, contact [email protected].

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